Blue Bird propane-powered school buses.

Blue Bird, Ford, and ROUSH CleanTech have worked together since 2012 to deploy more than 40,000 alternative-fuel powered school buses.

Source: Blue Bird/Canva

Blue Bird Corporation has extended its exclusive clean school bus collaboration with Ford Component Sales and ROUSH CleanTech to 2030. The agreement is expected to strengthen Blue Bird’s industry leadership in low- and zero-emission student transportation, the company reported.

Blue Bird is now the only school bus manufacturer in the United States to offer propane- and gasoline-powered school buses that will meet more stringent emission standards taking effect in 2027.

Ford continues to supply its 7.3L V8 engine exclusively to school bus builder Blue Bird. ROUSH CleanTech integrates Ford’s compact, durable, and easy-to-maintain engine into low-emission powertrain options for propane- and gasoline-powered school buses. Blue Bird, Ford, and ROUSH CleanTech began working together in 2012. Since then, Blue Bird has deployed more than 40,000 alternative-fuel powered school buses.

The demand for Blue Bird’s propane-powered school buses has steadily increased over the past decade. Today’s propane engine is 90% cleaner than the most stringent federal emission standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). New and even stricter emission standards will take effect in 2027. Blue Bird’s near zero-emission, propane-powered school buses exceed those emission standards already today.

“We are thrilled to extend our winning, long-standing collaboration with technology leaders Ford Motor Company and ROUSH CleanTech,” said Britton Smith, president of Blue Bird Corporation. “We are the only school bus manufacturer in the United States to bring an industry-leading portfolio of propane- and gasoline-powered buses to communities nationwide – and are excited for the opportunity to continue doing so for years to come. School districts and contractors seeking clean and cost-effective student transportation continue to find reliable solutions in Blue Bird.”

“Our relationship with Blue Bird goes back nearly a century starting in 1927 when Blue Bird built its first school bus on a Ford chassis,” said Douglas Chase, director of OEM sales at Ford Component Sales. “We have continued to collaborate and innovate the student transportation industry ever since. We are delighted that Ford’s powerful 7.3L engine will be at the heart of Blue Bird’s next-generation, alternative-fuel powered school buses in North America.”

“We are excited about the contract extension as it signals to the market that the most successful alternative-fuel collaboration in the school bus industry will continue to drive technology innovation to lower emissions and reduce costs for school districts and contractors over the coming years,” said Todd Mouw, executive vice president of sales, marketing, and customer success at ROUSH CleanTech.

Propane-powered school buses can help to lower the total cost of ownership of bus fleets. School districts and contractors benefit from fuel and maintenance savings of up to $3,700 per bus each year. Today, more than 1.3 million students in more than 1,000 school districts ride to school in propane-powered buses.

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